Although Shalford’s present church is only just over a hundred and seventy years old, it is at least the fourth building on a site that has been sacred for around a thousand years. The first church was possibly Saxon, dating from the tenth century. Before the Norman Conquest this part of Shalford was included in a great estate centred on Bramley, which extended from the Guildford boundary down to the Sussex border. Shalford was the oldest church on the estate and was one of Bramley’s three churches mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. Both Bramley and Wonersh churches were originally founded as outlying chapels of Shalford. Following the Conquest many churches were rebuilt and enlarged. In the late twelfth or early thirteenth century the Saxon church was replaced. The dedication to St Mary the Virgin probably dates from this rebuilding, which coincided with the growth of the great medieval cult of Our Lady. The new church originally had a nave and long chancel, with a small spire above a central tower. Over the next two centuries, transepts and a side chapel were added. The fabric of the church was in a very poor state by the end of the eighteenth century. Huge cracks had appeared in the tower and the west end of the nave, prompting a decision by parishioners in 1787 to demolish and rebuild. However the ‘New Church’ soon proved too small for the growing population of the parish, and its appearance was considered ‘squat’ and ‘unworthy’. By the mid-nineteenth century the country was in the middle of an evangelical revival, with medieval styles popular once more. In 1846, a mere fifty-eight years after its construction, the church was demolished. Its replacement, a Victorian church built in thirteenth century Early English style, is the building we have today.
The significance of this church to me is that it falls on three alignments; The SHALFORD LINE which is at a bearing of 177 degrees in the Primary Group; the ARTINGTON LINE at 260 degrees; and the SEALE LINE at 270 degrees – both in the East-West group. Two of these intersect at the alter but the ARTINGTON LINE passes through the churchyard a few metres south of the building.